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I am going to replace the antifreeze in the van (2003 with a 3.8). Want to make sure what color need to get and how much. I am thinking about full strength and the guy at Auto Zone said need 1/2 of water also and need orange
 

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For once, the AutoZone guy is right. You want a 50/50 mix of coolant and water, preferably distilled. Buy the full strength and mix it yourself, or buy the pre-diluted stuff and just dump it in as-is.

Personally, I just use the long life universal antifreeze in all my vehicles. It saves from having to buy several different kinds, and I can top all of them off from the same jug.
 

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Colors are all over the place. Some are orange, some are gold. Be careful with that.

Walmart carries Peak. Theirs is gold for your vehicle (2000 to 2012 MY).
Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Amber Gas Font


PEAK® OET Extended Life Gold 50/50 Pre-Diluted Coolant /Antifreeze for North American Vehicles, 3.78 Liters | Walmart Canada

Prestone Orange or Prestone Universal will work.

Valvoline Zerex G-05 for your vehicle is yellow (Ford's HOAT color)
Wood Yellow Rectangle Flooring Gas


.
Orange is no longer the HOAT color.

Most likely demineralized water is used. That's fine, very stable.

Valvoline Zerex G-05 was the OE HOAT coolant. What is in your system now?
 

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Don't use orange, as that's often dex-cool and will gum up/ruin your engine.

Zerex/Valvoline G-05 is the proper coolant to use. Good luck finding it in full strength/concentrate though, as everything is sold in premixed jugs now. even in a medium-sized city, I could not find concentrate coolant and had to special order from Rock Auto.
 

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Dex Cool is an OAT, the same spec as the OAT used by newer Chrysler vehicles (2013+). Note what it says on the jug.
"Chrysler/FCA: 2013 and up"
Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Amber Gas Font


PEAK® OET Extended Life Orange 50/50 Pre-Diluted Antifreeze/ Coolant for North American Vehicles, 3.78 Liters
 

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GM changed their gaskets too. Their Dex Cool OAT didn't mix well with the green IAT some were replacing with, apparently. Formulations do change.

Dex Cool is just another OAT coolant these days. Most Prestone coolants are OAT and have been for some time. They may actually be a Si-OAT, being for universal use.

One of the great things about Si-OAT is it can be safely mixed with other ethylene glycol coolants.
I have never seen a specific Prestone HOAT formulation coolant.

HOAT = OAT plus some low level silicates and/or phosphates and/or nitrates, basically a combo of OAT and IAT.

Valvoline, these days, says its G-05 HOAT is "compatible with many brands of coolant, commonly available". Go figure.
Check out their product information (PI) sheets.
 
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I would NEVER want to use whatever Dexcool variant that came factory in the mid 90s and early 00s GM vehicles.
Agree with @Jeepman

90s Dex-Cool was cr*p, but today it doesn't cause the clogging it did back then. They changed it...

ISTR reading that GM put radiator stop-leak into NEW Corvettes back in the last century... :mad:
 

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Yup, the Corvette guys were draining the dexcool out of their cars and flushing, and replacing it with, what else, but our beloved Zerex G-05.

In our Grand Prix, I flushed all of the crap out that I could after it had almost killed the engine plugging it up. I replace it with yellow universal coolant around 2007-2008. The engine had nearly overheated and had a leaking head gasket or cracked head from that ordeal. I had to use stop leak pills to fix it, after putting in the new coolant (and lower intake manifold gaskets/T-stat were replaced).

Don't forget dex kill. :p
 
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I use the Mopar brand non-mixed. I mix my own with 60% coolant 40% distiller water. Have faster and hotter heating in the winter months. It's a pinkish color.
 
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We use the RainX 2-in-1 windshield washer fluid in our cars - it’s orange.

I also used to run the orange Zerex coolant in our van.

In trying to be helpful, my wife once put the orange RainX washer fluid in the coolant reservoir since she saw the stuff in there was orange.

Fortunately she didn’t drive it before telling me what she’d done. After extracting everything out of the coolant overflow reservoir, I flushed out the orange Zerex coolant and immediately started using the purple Mopar coolant. 😂

I don’t want to know if RainX makes a purple windshield washer fluid!!
 

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In our Grand Prix, I flushed all of the crap out that I could after it had almost killed the engine plugging it up. I replace it with yellow universal coolant around 2007-2008. The engine had nearly overheated and had a leaking head gasket or cracked head from that ordeal. I had to use stop leak pills to fix it, after putting in the new coolant (and lower intake manifold gaskets/T-stat were replaced).
You aren't suppose to admit that. Your name is now in The Book of Shame. You have a record. You're labelled. A pill user, no less. It does come in liquid form for easier concealment.
Ha, ha.
So, the stop leak worked for you? for how long?
 
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@Jeepman In the spirit of your question to @Road Ripper about head gasket stop leak, a good friend who’s an excellent hobbyist mechanic recently gave it a try in his Dodge/RAM truck (I think it’s a 5.7).

He diagnosed a leaky head gasket and thought “what the eff’ and gave it a try.

He said it worked for him for ~1 month and the symptoms came back. He ended up fixing it the traditional, non-pill in a can, sort of way.
 

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@Jeepman In the spirit of your question to @Road Ripper about head gasket stop leak, a good friend who’s an excellent hobbyist mechanic recently gave it a try in his Dodge/RAM truck (I think it’s a 5.7).

He diagnosed a leaky head gasket and thought “what the eff’ and gave it a try.

He said it worked for him for ~1 month and the symptoms came back. He ended up fixing it the traditional, non-pill in a can, sort of way.
A head gasket leak is a "tall order". A radiator seam leak = more likely success.
What Is Radiator Stop Leak? Radiator stop leak is a common additive that is designed to seal minor leaks in your radiator and leaks in-between components. While it's an aftermarket additive, some car manufacturers use it on new radiators to improve the seal between new radiator components.
 
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I put orange Dexcool 10-yr "extended life" in our 1996 Voyager 2.4L and after several years the engine started creeping up in temperature. I had been finding small brown bits floating at the top of the radiator. I guess they finally clogged it a bit. I recall I had first flushed with a garden hose (engine running), but perhaps still green coolant which reacted to form solids. Back-flushed the radiator in-car, refilled with green coolant and no more running hot issues for several years now. That is my only vehicle of 7 that doesn't have Evans Waterless (no corrosion worries, never need to flush). Other than a Prius one son recently left us (as if we need 8 vehicles for 3 drivers). Yes, parking is tight but all fit on the property. As stated, too many coolants and colors today, but much web info so enjoy reading about them and all the opinions.
 

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I don’t use a garden hose to flush my coolant system ‘cause the water in my area is almost liquid rock it’s so “hard” with minerals and such.

I buy distilled water from the grocery store and drain/fill until the system is 99%+ distilled water. I’ll then do one more drain and fill with non-diluted coolant.

I also suppose demineralized water would be sufficient in lieu of distilled water but I’ve not done much research on the pros & cons of both.
 

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Valvoline uses deionized or demineralized water.
MIXING COOLANT IN THE PROPER RATIO
In general, we mix coolant concentrates with deionized or demineralized water in a 50/50 ratio to protect the system against freezing down to -37°C. Ready to use coolants are pre-mixed products that are much easier to use and help vehicle or engine owners avoid using the wrong ratio.

The Owner's Manual for my 2016 DGC says:
Use only high purity water such as distilled or deionized water when mixing the water/engine coolant (antifreeze) solution. The use of lower quality water will reduce the amount of corrosion protection in the engine cooling system.
I stick with demineralized water in the 5 gallon jugs, available at gas stops, grocery stores, etc. here. Distilled water isn't neutral, so they say.
But please – PLEASE! – do not use distilled water in your automotive cooling system.
:)
 

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Is water out of a refrigerator that has a charcoal filter sufficient for a cooling system? We have city water that is tested annually and is very pure compared to the crappy well water around here.
 

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Is water out of a refrigerator that has a charcoal filter sufficient for a cooling system? We have city water that is tested annually and is very pure compared to the crappy well water around here.
Apparently not, the water still has minerals in it.
When filtering water, charcoal carbon filters are most effective at removing chlorine, particles such as sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), taste and odor. They are not effective at removing minerals, salts, and dissolved inorganic substances.
Softened water is a different story.
Home water softeners, also called ion exchange units, are appliances that remove calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from drinking water. Resin beads inside the softener trap the calcium and magnesium and exchange them for sodium or potassium.
Sodium is okay, calcium chloride is bad.
There seems to be a perceptual issue with regard to the usage of softened water in cooling systems by auto enthusiasts. Many mistakenly believe that because salt is added to water softeners, then softened water must contain salt, a substance of course known to be very corrosive. Nothing could be further from the truth. The salt you add to a water softener is NaCl, or sodium chloride.
During the softening process, only the sodium ion is exchanged into the water. Therefore, softened water does NOT contain corrosive salt.
What are the benefits of using softened water? Soft water lacks most of the impurities of tap water, meaning it far less conductive (i.e. less damage from electrolysis) and will not form deposits (i.e. less possibility of overheating).
The sodium and chloride in the road salt break apart water molecules, lowering its freezing point and melting treacherous ice. While the sodium dissolves after coming in contact with water, chloride remains and is highly corrosive to the metal that makes up 90% of your vehicle.
Bottle Water bottle Liquid Drinkware Fluid


I guess that's meant for spring water. :)
 
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